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Friday, June 30, 2006

Thanks To The National Film Board Of Canada

I love the films produced by the National Film Board Of Canada. My first exposure to their films was through a little show on PBS back in 1977 called “The International Festival Of Animation.” This show was a miracle for a kid like me back then. Since I was the typical weird outcast, I hated school and didn’t get along very well with others my age. I would lose myself into science fiction and fantasy novels and TV shows like The Muppet Show, Space 1999 and Lost In Space. I never could figure out why everyone was in such a big hurry to find his or her way back to Earth. I would have been so much happier anywhere else. I would have loved to be Will Robinson except for the possible midnight gropings by the questionable Dr. Smith.

OK, back to animation. On Sunday evening, my local PBS (Public Broadcasting System) would show the International Festival Of Animation. I had the fortunate opportunity to become exposed to the great short animation from Zagreb, the USSR and the National Film Board Of Canada. Even back then, in the 70’s, the mention of animation to most people in the USA invoked images of Walt Disney productions, Saturday morning crap or the classic Warner Brother’s cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. I was more enthralled with the uniquely personal art of animation being practiced outside the US. I am in no way comparing myself to any of the artists whose films I watched but I was heavily influenced by the more free drawing styles. I still don’t like cartooning or art that is too slick and technically spectacular. Sadly, the business of commercial art requires artists to have unique styles that jump, screaming from portfolios. I think a lot of the art coming from new illustrators is lacking in character. Children’s books especially seem to have art that is designed to impress publishers and editors more than a child’s imagination.

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